Spring blooms with fun events in Jackson Hole
Ski season is wrapping up at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (April 8), but April— and especially May—feature a few annual events beloved by locals and visitors alike.
Elkfest and Old West Days are held back-to-back and are truly unique-to-Jackson events. The festivities, including the world-famous Boy Scout Elk Antler Auction, kick off on May 19 and continue through Memorial Day weekend. The spirit of the true West lives on here and is celebrated every year during Elkfest and Old West Days, where we have one of the only remaining horse-drawn parades in America!
The 36th Annual Jackson Hole Home Show will be held April 20 through 21 at the Snow King Sports and Event Center. It offers new, current and potential homebuyers a one-stop shopping experience in home-related products and services. Themes include home, building, garden and recreation. Some of the local vendors — like Brady’s, Grand Teton Floor and Window Coverings, Green Turf Landscaping and Teton Rentals — have been coming to the home show for so long, folks stop by their booths just to say hi and to catch up. National companies such as Sleep Number and Andersen windows will also be displaying their wares.
The show’s hours are noon to 7 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Wildlife and their young come out to play in May
Spring is the optimal time of year to come across all manner of wildlife and their young, even in your own backyard or ambling happily down the street.
“May is one of the best months to watch wildlife in Jackson Hole for sure,” says Jason Williams, owner of Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris.
Momma bears emerge from their dens to bring their cubs out into the sunshine. Bison “red dogs” are born and wander within their herds in late May, too, Jason says. All around the valley and Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks you can fairly easily spot elk and moose with their calves, deer and fawns, and playful baby fox — appropriately called “kids.” And if you look carefully up into the trees you may spy a bald eagle’s nest where both mother and father eagle hover protectively over their eggs or eaglets.
Iconic sign gets a makeover
The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar on Town Square is one of the most visited venues in the valley. Locals flock to it, too, for some good old boot scootin’ to the country western and bluegrass bands that play nearly nightly. The iconic bright neon sign that normally sits above the saloon featuring a cowboy riding a bucking bronc is “probably the most photographed image of Jackson Hole except for the Tetons,” says new owner Jim Waldrop. The sign is MIA at the moment as it is being spruced up during April with a simple restoration, including a much-needed fresh coat of paint.
Former landmark is making a comeback this summer
Jackson Drug was another Town Square landmark from 1919 until 2001 when it closed and an upscale rug business appeared in its place. That store recently shut its doors so now relatives of the original Jackson Drug owners are bringing the historical business back to life, complete with its famous soda fountain bar.
Located in the brick building on the northwest corner of the square, Jackson Drug will now serve beer, wine and cocktails. The menu will feature all the Jackson Drug classics—soups, sandwiches, ice cream, milkshakes and malts—with the addition of Jackson Hole Hereford Ranch burgers and French fries.
“Locals are our main priority,” owner Nikki Gill says. “Tourists will come, but I don’t think there are enough places that serve our locals and especially our local families in Jackson today. We are honoring, to the best of our ability, what it was and trying to respect the history and bring in a few updates here and there.”
Snowshoeing and picnicking
There’s something both serene and endorphin building about snowshoeing at your own pace to Taggart Lake in Grand Teton National Park. Bringing a picnic lunch to enjoy lakeside while the Tetons hover over you is a slice of heaven on Earth.
The Taggart Lake Trail is a very doable, flatish, 3-mile round-trip trek from the parking lot located at the trailhead. The lot is a mere 2-miles from the Moose Entrance to the park. You’ll travel through a mixed forest of spruce, fir and lodgepole pine as well as some long stretches of aspen groves. Although snowshoeing the trail is spectacularly beautiful no matter what the weather, April and May typically feature bright sunshine and heartbreakingly blue skies.
Give it a go. Disappointment is not an option.
If you’re more up for biking or walking in the park along Teton Park Road — without coming across any cars for 14 miles — you can do just that through the end of April. The road is open for pedestrian use only from the Taggart Lake parking lot to Signal Mountain Lodge. It is ideal for activities such as cycling, roller skating, skateboarding, roller skiing, walking, jogging and leashed pet-walking.